12ft NSW State Championships – Saturday & Sunday 26 + 27.11.11
Almost a fantastic weekend for the Lincoln Crowne & Company 12’ skiff – 2 great races that went egg-shaped!
1st heat at Lane Cove Saturday, no breeze while rigging, the fleet all chose big-rig.
A drifter at 1 minute to starting gun, big run-out tide, fleet in disarray, Dimension Polyant and Lincoln Crowne & Company tacked onto the line at the gun, Dimension Polyant over early by 1 boat length, they returned to re-start: LCC, Gemmell Sails and CST away fast from the fleet.
Spinnaker ride out of the river revealed that the wind was quite fresh, and that the fleet were all over-rigged for the conditions. LCC, Gemmell Sails and CST first to bottom mark, with only LCC and Gemmell Sails together by the top mark. LCC had a swim in the gybe at the top mark, but everyone was having troubles in the breeze. The crew were able to pull back to second by the next spinnaker set, hot on the heels of Gemmell Sails. They nosedived after the set, and broke their mast, putting LCC in a clear lead from the trailing pack. LCC then sailed conservatively in the testing conditions to preserve their 1st place- this cost some of the margin to second (made back up in the race back into the river when 2 of the chasing pack capsized again), allowing LCC to cross finish line 1st with a lead of 1 1/2 minutes, and take the winning gun.
Later that afternoon, the starting committee changed its mind and determined that LCC had crossed the start-line early by a few hundred mm and recorded us OCS, and no points for the race. The crew were adamant they were not early- but the result will be as recorded.
Sunday, heat 2 & 3 at Abbottsford.
Wind swung to the West/South-West, very puffy and shifty, ranging from 10 to 20 knots, scheduled to ease through the afternoon. This left little option but to select intermediate 2nd rig.
Very strong run-out tide and huge wind-shifts on the river made the start very difficult; LCC caught on the wrong tack by some lesser boats, finally getting into the race about 5th, and well behind Dimension Polyant, the break-away leader.
Up the 1st work, some big shifts saw LCC and Garde close with DP, all 3 boats together and the spinnaker set, and still together at the bottom mark. Long difficult 2 sail to the next mark, saw LCC pull a 150m gap to DP, with Garde another 150m back. Too tight for the spinnaker at this next mark, so a tough 2 sail back, then a quick spinnaker set as the breeze lightened. LCC 500m clear ahead now, with 3 legs to go, had to flog the kite in a gust to get around a peninsular, just as they cleared this, the attachment for the spinnaker on the end of the bow-sprit broke, capsizing them. Upright again, but now unable to set a spinnaker, DP came through and narrowly lead around the second last mark. A wind-shift up the final work saw LCC regain the lead, to round for the run to the finish in the lead, only to be run-down by DP heading home with their spinnaker. LCC had amassed enough of a gap over the 3rd placed Garde to be able to hold them out to the finish to save 2nd place for the race.
Between races LCC came ashore and jury rigged the spinnaker attachment on the bowsprit to enable them to participate in the 3rd race.
Conditions now very light for this race, LCC determined their start strategy to be in a tidal back-eddy at the start boat; unfortunately they came in 30 seconds early for this, leaving them caught under 2 boats.
This race, being light, never gave them the opportunity to recover, and they sailed the whole race in this 5th position. This was very light, shifty, breeze dying completely on several occasions.
So the weekend finished with LCC recording an OCS, 2nd and a 5th, a position that reasonably might have been 2 wins and a 5th. With LCC removed from heat 1, Dimension Polyant’s places were 1st, 2nd and 4th, and Garde’s were 2nd 3rd and 7th , these being the top 3 placing boats overall.
Next week the titles conclude with 3 heats sailed from Woollahra, LCC hoping to address their gremlins next weekend.